SAN JOSE, November 22, 2014 – Last week President Obama announced his Presidential Executive Order that many agree undermines a fundamental premise of the Constitution that most of the Founding Fathers agreed upon: Separate Branches of Power to prevent autocracy being essential to the balance of power and retention of a free Democratic-Republic. Anyone in the U.S. who has been paying attention to the language President Obama primarily uses in depictions of the United States is as a “democracy.” That is not what the U.S. government is supposed to be. However, this is not something new. The Democrat Party upon Andrew Jackson’s inception of the political organization distorted the original concept of the Founders.
For “Old Hickory,” the founder of the modern Democrat Party, obstacles in his way to obtaining his objectives required an extraordinary effort to bypass them or bury them. He demonstrated this throughout his career although many do not comprehend, nor desire to completely perceive his incredible passion for power. This perception existed among many in the time of Jackson although more fond memories remain of this domineering man. Like Jackson, Obama is now beginning to be recognized as someone, whether representing himself, or those “pulling his strings,” as someone capable of committing crimes against the Constitution. Simply put, the Democrat Party has proven itself capable of ignoring the Constitution on many occasions.
Deliberate and flagrant violation of the Constitution is in the political DNA of the Democrat Party. Such an outrageous contempt for the Constitution was manifested in the administration of the great granddaddy of the Democrats, Andrew Jackson. It is further interesting that Obama made his pronouncement on immigration in the month of November, as it is the month that has been designated as American Indian Heritage Month because it was the American Indians who most seriously suffered under Andrew Jackson’s unconstitutional machinations. Coupled with the expansion of the qualified electorate to all white males of age, Jackson managed to provide land in exchange for votes for him and his party. He became quite popular in doing so.
Not long after his first term commenced, Andrew Jackson shepherded a bill through Congress drastically altering the landscape. In 1830, a bitterly divided Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, and a pleased Jackson signed into law orders that would force the indigenous peoples of the southeastern region to relocate to “Indian Territory,” or what is now the state of Oklahoma and part of Arkansas. The Indian Removal Act was quite divisive and controversial at the time – it still is. Of course, the five Indian tribes protested, some of them even put up a futile fight against the U.S. Army. It didn’t matter. Many Christians and missionaries protested against passage of such legislation; it didn’t matter. Many in Congress fought against it; it didn’t matter.
After incredibly divisive and bitter debate, Congress passed the legislation. Significant efforts to oppose the legislation in Congress came from New Jersey Senator Theodore Frelinghuysen and Congressman Davy Crockett of Tennessee, the same state Andrew Jackson had represented in Congress. Other elected officials spoke out strongly against such objectionable legislation. Yet, the president and the Democrats understood that no one really cared enough about the Indians to really make a significant difference in stopping what he and his Parry had initiated. After all, the Indians weren’t considered U.S. citizens and would not have any legal foundation upon which to stand to argue against the “law.”
Certainly the voters (supporters to whom Jackson had the opportunity to channel the vacated lands) didn’t care whether their fellow human beings were being forcibly separated from their property or whether they lost their lives in the process. They were concerned about two primary things: the gold that had been discovered in Georgia and the land that they would eventually have access to. Who else do you think would benefit from such an incredibly illegal land grab? Well, the voters were obviously locked in on the value of the Democrats at that point, and the ones primarily capable of securing the land were the ones who were wealthy slave owners. The effort was not only illegal, it was immoral; yet, Jackson and his Democrats were elected repeatedly.
Not many could comprehend what had happened. The real losers of course were the rightful owners whose ancestors had lived on the land for thousands of years. This period just before and after the passage of the Indian Removal Acts, a time marked forever by the “Trail of Tears,” was one of the darkest periods in the relations between the American Indians and the United States government. Once such a precedent of lawlessness at the top level of federal and state government is permitted by the people it demonstrates a quality of complacency that is viewed by those who wield power as a blueprint for the perpetuation of political power. Jackson knew what he was doing. The Democrats knew what the legislation would mean. They got away with it.
This radical precedent fundamentally altered the prior efforts of previous presidents in relating to the American Indian nations with respect and in establishing trust between the governments of the respective peoples. In all the “five civilized” tribes were forced off their land. Thousands of Cherokees died on the “Trail of Tears.” They were forced to march across the southeast, across the Mississippi and Missouri rivers over to the designated “Indian Territory.” Sadly, these were the nations that had tried to work within the objectives and parameters of the efforts of those previous government administrations. The Cherokee had even followed the advice of Christian missionaries who advised them to take their case through the proper legal channels.
Their case made it all the way to the Supreme Court and Chief Justice John Marshall even ruled that the Native American tribes were sovereign nations and that state law had no jurisdiction over tribal lands, essentially that Jackson’s efforts were unconstitutional:
“The several Indian nations were distinct political communities having territorial boundaries within which their authority is exclusive, and having rights to all land within those boundaries, which is not only acknowledged, but guaranteed by the United States.”
Although some historians dispute it, while ignoring the Supreme Court ruling, Jackson is reputed to have said: “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it.” In reality, what truly matters is what he did, not whether he uttered the words that articulated his contempt for the law of the land.
The U.S. Constitution stated little about the Indians, but it did specify that the native peoples were neither to be taxed nor to be included in the populations of the states as part of the electorate. They were unofficially viewed as belonging to separate nations. For all practical purposes, the various American Indian nations were primarily viewed as foreign nations and treated accordingly. Although the Constitution did not extend to the various tribes a legal status on par with that afforded to European nations, where ambiguity existed with respect to the letter of the law regarding American Indians, U.S. presidents followed the precedent established by the Northwest Ordinance that was passed by the government under the Articles of Confederation.
The federal government basically respected Indian sovereignty over their ancestral homelands. The essential understanding was that the Indians were to retain dominion over their lands. The first few presidents tended to follow this legal foundation and generally followed the precedent of George Washington, who had initiated a policy of friendship, education, and cultural assimilation into the newly formed American republic. Jackson did not accept the premise that the lands belonged to Indians. He viewed their lands as existing within the boundaries of the sovereignty of the United States, so the ownership of Indian property was up for negotiation. Jackson and the Democrats knew than non-landed voters were capable of helping them with the land grab.
Yet the Constitution was theoretically binding upon the President and Congress. Unfortunately, that seemed to matter little as the machinery of the federal government was maneuvering and manipulating one of the biggest land grabs in the nation’s history. This move during Andrew Jackson’s administration signals a fundamental change in the way the native lands were viewed, not only by the old Indian fighter, but by the average American voter. While Jackson had little respect for legal precedents established under the Articles of Confederation, or the views of previous presidents, the general public could not be expected to respect the law or legal precedents when the President of the United States clearly did not.
When the perpetuation of any one political Party’s power becomes the object of government it signifies direct opposition to the founding principles of the United States. A key in Jackson getting away with something that seems like a story from the old Soviet Empire, or the present reign of the communist leaders in China, is that he did not let much get in the way of his objectives and when obstacles threatened his efforts, he removed the obstacles.
A clear-minded student of history could conclude that the current Democrat Party views the land of the United States like Jackson saw the southeast portion of the U.S. – up for grabs for potential new converts to the Democrat method of perpetuating political power.